British Columbia

Kamloops, B.C. declares March 'Bullying Free Sport Community Month'

Kamloops is the first B.C. city to designate a month to creating awareness about bullying in sport, an initiative of the 2018 B.C. Winter Games.

First city in B.C. to make this kind of proclamation, says president of the 2018 B.C. Winter Games

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games and the host city of Kamloops hope to address bullying in sport. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

The City of Kamloops has declared March 'Bullying Free Sport Community Month.'

According to Niki Remesz, president of the 2018 B.C. Winter Games, Kamloops is the first city in B.C. to make this kind of proclamation.

"In order to be a good sport host I think we need to keep these images and messages front and center," Remesz said.

Kamloops will host the 40th B.C. Winter Games in 2018.

"As Canada's tournament capital, we actively promote sport, recreation and hosting tournaments every day, so it's important the community stands up and confirms they won't tolerate bullying in sport," said Sean Smith with the City of Kamloops. 

"I think that it just goes to solidifying our position as tournament capital of Canada," Remesz added. 

This proclamation outlines Bullying Free Sport Community Month in Kamloops, B.C. (Submitted/Niki Remesz)

"Every piece that we bring to supporting the infrastructure of that banner I think just positions Kamloops a whole lot better to make that claim."

Remesz says next year's games will remain firm in its anti-bullying in sport stance throughout the year leading up to the event, adding she's hopeful the Cowichan Valley, the host of the 2018 B.C. Summer Games, will follow. 

"I would love them to pick that up and run with it as well," she said. 

Research from the B.C. Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development showed that 94 per cent of B.C. sports organizations surveyed believe bullying in sport is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Remesz says that 55 per cent of people surveyed know people who have left athletics because of issues with bullying.

A province-wide campaign called #ERASEbullying launched earlier this year, with former athletes like Trevor Linden and Carl Valentine on board.